Now is Too Late: Survival in an Era of Instant News

Front Cover
FT Press, 2003 - Business & Economics - 332 pages
Whoever you are, whatever institution or corporation you represent, your reputation can be destroyed instantly. Feeding frenzies like Enron, Andersen, and Firestone/Ford point to a new "post-media" world where traditional crisis management is no longer enough. In this new world, attacks can come from anywhere, at any time-and your key constituents expect direct answers, straight from you, without traditional journalistic intermediaries.

In Now Is Too Late, Gerald R. Baron shows executives and PR professionals precisely how the rules have changed: Why public discourse has turned so ugly and why you're probably wearing the black hat-maybe even if you haven't done anything wrong. More important, he offers a complete roadmap for defending yourself, beginning with effective actions you must take now, before you're under attack! * Beyond the media: the new world of instant, unmediated newsYour new audiences: They want it straight, and they want it now* When opponents grab the microphoneWhy you're becoming an even juicier target-and what you can do about it* Building "reputation equity" while there's still timeHow to start banking credibility now, so it'll be there when you need it* 11 reasons yesterday's crisis management techniques no longer workAnd specific solutions you can start implementing right now* Leveraging technology to regain the initiativeBringing the Web and email to the heart of your crisis communications plan* Surviving the maelstrom--and recovering your reputationClear thinking and effective strategies for managing crises--and their aftermath

What to do when the media hits the fan....

  • You're a target. Here's how to defend yourself!
  • Communicate directlywith your stakeholders--and help them believe you
  • Build your crisis management plans for the future, not the past
  • Prepare your entire organization to act effectively before, during, and after the crisis

Now your reputation can be attacked by anyone, anywhere, at any time, day or night--and if you try to fight 21st-century battles with 20th-century tactics, you're dead. It's a new "post-media" world. You need a new blueprint for crisis management communications that reflects your constituents' demands for unprecedented speed, directness, and accuracy.

In "Now Is Too Late," Gerald R. Baron shows how to build response mechanisms that take full advantage of the Web and email, and can spring into effective action in a heartbeat. You'll learn how to build "reputation equity" that'll be there when you need it most, how to survive crises through clear thinking and careful strategy, and what to do after the crisis to recover and strengthen your reputation.

You have more adversaries and more risk factors than ever before--but you also have new technologies and allies. "Now Is Too Late" shows how to mobilize your advantages, regain the initiative, and come away stronger than ever!"Gerald Baron's new book is a must-read by Academe, voters, news consumers, marketers, business leaders, and politicians. Baron provides a cogent, insightful snapshot of today's media landscape. Ignore this book's lessons at your own peril-McLuhan's Global Village is here to stay, and how!"--Tim O'Leary,
Manager, Media and External Affairs,
Shell Oil Company"Having lived in Europe at the time of the Erika oil spill off the coast of France, as well as the Concorde crash outside ofParis, and then returning to the U.S. just prior to the September 11 disaster--all this within just two years--there's no doubt that my personal life has been impacted by 'real time' news distribution. But as Executive Vice President of a global communications agency, my professional impact is even greater--as clientsare forever in a heightened state of paranoia about whether they, but more so their global customers, can survive the fury of being heard amidst a world in turmoil. Gerald Baron eloquently captures the essence of this dilemma in Now Is Too Late, and through thoughtful analysis, he provides a clear vision of how communicators can strategically plan for, and effectively manage, '24/7' soundbyte streams. A must-read for anyone in the media delivery business ... a should-read for those on the receiving end!"--Barron T. Evans, Chicago"Suffice it to say that I'd like to reprint most of Now Is Too Late in my newsletter. But they won't let me. So you'll have to buy it."--Jonathan Bernstein,
Editor/Publisher, "Crisis Manager" EzinePresident & CEO,
Bernstein Communications, Inc."Gerald Baron takes his readers to the front lines of crisis management in public relations. This useful book will help executives, PR professionals, entrepreneurs, and anyone who wants to know how to better navigate a changing media environment."--Jon Talton,
business columnist,
"The Arizona Republic""Gerald Baron has authored an absolutely essential guide for understanding and surviving the 'Instant News World.' This book is essential for any executive or communications leader wishing to protect the reputation of their products and organizations."--Kevin G. Sawatsky,
Dean,
the Schoolof Business at Trinity Western University

 

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Now is too late: survival in an era of instant news

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Baron (Friendship Marketing), the head of a market research firm, here presents his insights on public relations in the rapidly evolving world of communications. His premise is that public-relations ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

DISCOVERING THE NEW WORLD OF INSTANT NEWS
1
INFORMATION RESPONSE
8
A NONINSTANT NEWS RESPONSE
11
NO GOLDEN HOUR RESPONSE
12
INADEQUATE INTERNAL COMMUNICATION
13
ANTIQUATED INFORMATION DISTRIBUTION
14
SCRATCHPAD METHOD OF DATABASE DEVELOPMENT
15
HANDCUFFED WITHOUT EMAIL
16
RECOGNIZING THE DRAMATICALLY CHANGED NATURE OF NEWS AND PUBLIC INFORMATION WHAT IS THE ORGANIZATIONS GO...
172
WHAT GROUPS OR AUDIENCES WILL RECEIVE PRIORITY IN COMMUNICATION?
173
WILL THE ORGANIZATION BE REACTIVE OR PROACTIVE IN THE DISTRIBUTION OR PUBLISHING OF INFORMATION?
174
HOW WILL WE DETERMINE WHETHER A CRISIS EXISTS AND WHAT LEVEL OF RESPONSE IS REQUIRED?
178
TO WHAT LENGTH IS THE ORGANIZATION WILLING TO GO TO PROTECT ITS CREDIBILITY?
179
PEOPLE
182
PLATFORM
188
ENDNOTES
195

SEPARATE WEB TEAM TO UPDATE SITE
17
BEHIND THE CURVE ON MEDIA RESPONSE
18
THE MEDIA FIRST MISTAKE
19
THE APPROVAL PROCESS SLOWDOWN
21
NO INQUIRY AND RESPONSE TRACKING
22
NO WAY TO EASILY UPDATE NEW REPORTERS
23
A NEW APPROACH NEEDED
24
TOWARD A POSTMEDIA WORLD
27
TRADITIONAL MEDIA ANO THE GLOBAL EXPERIENCE
29
USE OF THE INTERNET ON SEPTEMBER 1 1
30
THE PERSONALIZATION OF MEDIA
34
A MULTITUDE OF BROADCASTERS ANO PUBLISHERS
38
ENDNOTES
41
THE NEW AUDIENCE
43
RELEVANCE AND DEMAND
46
NSTANT NEWS CASE STUDIES
51
THE ROLE OF THE INTERNET IN CHANGING EXPECTATIONS
54
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE NEW AUDIENCE
56
CREDIBILITY
57
PRIORITY ON COMMUNICATION
58
PERSONALIZED
60
THE NEWS AT MY HIP
61
ENDNOTES
62
HOW NEWS IS CHANGING
63
UNDERSTANDING THE NEWS BUSINESS
67
SPEED
69
DEPTH
71
CREDIBILITY
72
INFOTAINMENT
75
THE END OF THE NEWS EXECUTIVE
76
THE PRIMETIME NEWS MAGAZINE
77
THE BLACK HATS AND WHITE HATS
79
ENDNOTES
86
WHEN OPPONENTS GRAB THE MICROPHONE
87
NOW IS TOO LATE
88
A TIME OF CYNICISM
89
MEDIA INFOTAINMENT
92
ACTIVISTS ANO OTHER OPPONENTS
94
TRUE BELIEVERS
104
NOW THEY HAVE THE MICROPHONE
108
A PLATFORM FOR ATTACKING CREDIBILITY
110
BUILDING AUDIENCES
112
USING THE NET TO NETWORK
113
WHEN THE POLITICIANS GET INVOLVED
114
ENDNOTES
117
HOW THE RULES HAVE CHANGED
119
ENDNOTES
136
COMMUNICATION STRATEGIES FOR THE INSTANT NEWS WORLD
137
WHOM DO WE NEED TO TALK TO?
141
WHAT YOU DO IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN WHAT YOU SAY
147
ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY
148
BE STRAIGHTFORWARD ABOUT WHAT YOU KNOW AND DONT KNOW
149
WHAT MESSAGE DO WE NEED TO CONVEY?
152
WHAT DO WE NEED TO HEAR FROM THEM?
154
WHO NEEDS TO DELIVER THE MESSAGE?
158
HOW SHOULD WE COMMUNICATE?
160
ENDNOTES
163
PREPARING THE ORGANIZATION AND TEAM
165
POLICIES
168
OF COMMUNICATION TO THE EXISTENCE AND MISSION OF THE ORGANIZATION?
169
WHAT DOES A SUCCESSFUL COMMUNICATION RESPONSE LOOK LIKE?
170
DOES THE ORGANIZATION CONSIDER IT IMPORTANT TO COMMUNICATE INFORMATION OF HIGH PUBLIC INTEREST?
171
THE ROLE OF TECHNOLOGY
197
INFORMATION DEVELOPMENT
202
INFORMATION DISTRIBUTION
205
INTERACTIVITY ANO RESPONSE
207
INQUIRY MANAGEMENT
210
WEB SITE CONTROL
212
GROUP COMMUNICATION
216
INTERNAL COMMUNICATION
217
USER ACCESS
219
CRISIS PREPARATION WHAT TO DO BEFORE IT HAPPENS
223
ITS ALL ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS
226
BUILDING REPUTATION EQUITY
230
FLYING UNDER THE RADAR
232
GOAL SETTING
233
STRATEGIC RELATIONSHIP DEVELOPMENT
235
REPORTER RELATIONSHIP DEVELOPMENT
239
RESPONDING TO MINOR EVENTS
241
USE OF TECHNOLOGY
243
REPUTATION EQUITY SUMMARY
245
ENDNOTES
246
CRISIS MANAGEMENT WHAT TO DO WHILE IT IS HAPPENING
247
NOTIFICATION
248
GOLDEN HOUR
251
THE REFINERY INCIDENT EVOLVES
252
ORGANIZATION AND PERSONALITIES
253
PRIORITIZATION
257
BROADENING THE CLINICS MESSAGE
259
INQUIRY MANAGEMENT
261
RUMOR MANAGEMENT
264
NEGATIVE REPORTING
267
AHEAD OF THE CURVE
272
REPUTATION RECOVERY WHAT TO DO AFTER IT HAPPENS
275
GETTING OUT OF THE BUNKER
276
MEASURING THE DAMAGE
278
KEEPING VISIBLE AND VOCAL
279
RESTORING CREDIBILITY
281
REPLACING OR RECOLORING THE HATS
283
BORROWING CREDIBILITY
292
RETURNING TO NORMALCY
293
ENDNOTES
295
A GLIMPSE INTO THE FUTURE
297
MEDIA SPLINTERING
298
THE UBIQUITOUS INTERNET
299
WIRELESS CONNECTIVITY
300
REPLICATION OF EXPERIENCE
301
EVERYONE IS A WRITER PROOUCER PUBLISHER ANO BROADCASTER
302
WHAT IT MEANS FOR TOMORROWS COMMUNICATORS
303
THINKING LIKE A BROADCASTER
304
PERSONAL AND DIRECT
305
NEWSMAKERS AS BROADCASTERS
306
CONTENT AND STYLE CHANGES
308
THINK LOCAL ACT GLOBAL
310
AUDIENCE CONTROL
312
A WORLD OF MANY VOICES
313
BEING A CREDIBLE SOURCE
314
INFORMATION POINTERS
316
TRUTH FILTERS
318
TELL THE TRUTH
320
ENDNOTES
321
INDEX
323
Copyright

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About the author (2003)

GERALD R. BARON is the president and founder of Baron & Company, the leading full-service marketing and public relations firm in Northwest Washington. Baron created the PIER System, the only completely integrated Internet-based communication management system for crisis communications, issue management, and ongoing press and public information management.

A frequent speaker at national and regional conferences, he has served as a strategic and marketing consultant, corporate communications director, publisher, college professor, and entrepreneur. He is the author of three books on business and marketing, including Friendship Marketing.

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